The sun has risen over the Konya plain for one last time for me. I had a little Pims party on the terrace last night, lots of people came up to say goodbye. I’m a bit sad to be leaving, but I hope I’ll be back next year, and I’m looking forward to a real bed.

16.7.2005 21:46pm
It’s Saturday night, I’m in the computer lab, working. I’m having a FIGJAM (Fck I’m good, just ask me) moment, which probably makes it even more tragic.
My day is increasingly filled with meetings. It doesn’t feel as bad as last year, but then I’ve made real progress with lots of the databases, and decided which ones I’m going to try and get finished before I leave this season. There’s no point trying to get a big fancy system up and running for teams that are new to the project, they’re usually still coming to understand the site and the types of artefacts found here. I’ll have lots of work to do when I get back to London; I’m not sure how far the funding (and my boss’s patience!) will stretch.
I’ve come up with some really exciting designs for some of the new databases, I think they’re a pretty good reflection of the theory underlying this excavation.
There are some politics driving me crazy, but there’s not much I can do about them, so I might as well just ignore them. It’s all down to one person, who’s so desperate to ‘win’ that I even overheard him networking on the dance floor during the Thursday night party.
The Thursday night party is traditionally a themed costume party. People put lots of effort into their costumes, raiding the conservation and botany labs for material – the micromorphologist is popular when she’s on site, because she uses tin foil in her lab work. Then everyone gets really drunk and cops off with each other. I found it kinda depressing, lots of people have partners at home, but it doesn’t seem to count here.
The theme for Thursdays was films, film characters or film stars. I didn’t have time to make a costume for the Thursday night party – I was wearing a Thunderbirds t-shirt (my family portrait, according to Dreeny), and was going to go as Lady Penelope, but in the end I stuck a masking tape label that said ‘tequila’ on my glass, pointed at someone and laughed, then pointed at myself. No one got it, of course, even when I said it was an old film with Gregory Peck in it. I had to explain what I was doing – tequila – mocking – bird.
Sorry I haven’t been texting people back, I’m worried about the size of my phone bill, especially after the flurry of texts after the explosions in London, and it’s hard to find the time. I’ve worked out I will have worked two 75 hour weeks by the time I leave site.
16.7.2005 11:42 am
I realised this morning that yesterday marked the third anniversary of my move to London but I haven’t had a chance to even think about how I feel about that.
I’m working through my one day off, which is a shame because I was looking forward to hanging out in the hammam, getting some quality internet time, shopping for a small carpet and buying some jelly babies – I’ve had a craving ever since I saw the figurine found a few days ago.
Some bodies found in one of the late neolithic areas remind me of some kind of weird lasagne – a layer of bones, then a layer of plaster, a layer of bones, a layer of plaster. Not that I’m obsessed with food, or anything.
There’s another cool set of bones in another area, six bodies sort of woven together in a circle. They think there might be another burial underneath. God only knows what it all means.
Food is pretty much the same each day. Cucumbers, tomatoes, soups with beans, white cheese, wrinkled black olives, Turkish bread and yoghurt. The bread hasn’t been that fresh this year which is a shame. On the other hand, we’ve had hard-boiled eggs a couple of times a week which is a lot more than last year. The kitchen staff made dessert one night, which was an added excitement; we’ve also had some cherries. We also had pastries for dinner one day – nice idea, but not terribly filling.
It’s been quite hot – up to 38 or 40C, so I’ve tended not to eat much over lunch. Beautiful sunsets, must remember to take a photo.
I’ve only got a week to go, and so much to do. I was asked to do a presentation on the database and development framework, and that took up time that I would have been spending on development. I’ve already been working through a lot of my breaks, so I hate to think how busy the next week is going to be. There have been lots of politics, which is a distraction. I guess I was lucky to have the first few days comparatively politics free. It’s a shame, it’s a waste of everyone’s energy and it stresses me out. I’m just going to concentrate on getting my work done.
The gossip network is in full swing, after only two Thursday night parties. Women outnumber men about 2:1 so some of the men very kindly make up the difference by spreading themselves around.
I’m loving my iPod, but I’m sure people have caught me chair dancing, because I can’t listen to music without getting caught up in it.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the news every day or two, I know everyone says London is back to normal but it’s hard to imagine. People were a lot less upset when news came back from UCL and the Institute of Archaeology that the students who were on the bus were ok. Reading the survivor’s stories, and the accounts of the dead and the missing is heartbreaking.
The other night we watched the movie ‘Troy’ on the roof terrace, under the same stars that look down on Troy, while a crescent moon sank into the horizon. We were lucky, because the power kept going out that day but it lasted the whole length of the film.
I have four big spider bites on my legs. They have a fiery red outline, then a hard flat bit, then a core of yellow scab. They’re not sore but they itch like crazy. One of the specialists used to be an MD, and he said I don’t have to worry unless I see a red line working up my leg towards my heart. They probably happened when I was putting up my tent. Next time I won’t wear a skirt when walking around uncleared land!
A lovely little figurine was found in Lisa’s area, about the size of a jelly baby, and very similar in shape. Big belly, big bum, with the belly button carefully added.
I had a few texts from people yesterday, there was a bomb at a resort in Turkey, but initial reports didn’t say where. I think if anything happened here, the location would be identified, because it’s such an important site for the Turkish government. It’s gotten to the stage where I don’t want to see any more texts, they’re just bad news at the moment.

I’m ok, but freaked out. Left London yesterday morning, arrived on site late last night. Have heard from pretty much everyone. The power on site went out just after I got a text asking if I was ok, so we weren’t sure what was going on or what the extent of the damage was for a few hours. The Institute of Archaeology is right where the bus blew up, so people here are generally pretty worried for colleagues and fellow students.
I feel a long, long way from home.

What a panic – I checked the itinerary the travel agent sent me for my flight to Turkey tomorrow, and the times were different to those discussed! Instead of flying out at 2130 tomorrow night, I’m flying at 10am, with no time to come into the office in the morning. Still, hopefully I’ve got everything now, and can go home and pack, and it’s really my fault for not checking the tickets when I got them.
So, I’ll be here for the next two weeks (ok, not here, but just down the hill):
I’m not particularly looking forward to living in a tent for the next two weeks, but it’ll give me more privacy than sleeping in a tiny dorm with five others and I’ll probably be very glad of that at the end of a long day. If the politics and game-playing aren’t too bad, the whole thing will be quite enjoyable – hard work, but really challenging. I don’t know why archaeologists are so nice but some specialists can be so difficult.
The weather’s looking good – up to mid 30s, and dry, of course. I bought an absolutely fantastic present for myself – a travel pack of Trivial Pursuit. I’m stupidly excited by this, even though it’s basically just a set of question cards and a dice, cos I can take it on lots of holidays, like Eastnor and Wales. Whether I can find people to play me is another question.

“French President Jacques Chirac is reported to have cracked jokes about British food at a meeting with the German and Russian leaders.
French newspaper Liberation says Gerhard Schroeder and Vladimir Putin laughed and joined in the banter.
“One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad,” it quotes Mr Chirac saying.

“The only thing they have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease,” Mr Chirac said” (BBC)

Elton John in today’s Observer: “I want our government, which has presided over many positive changes for gay people here in the UK to ensure that ending violations of gay people’s fundamental human rights around the world becomes an explicit issue in its diplomatic relations with other countries.”